(BRAZIL) - Hundreds of people gathered in Brazil, Ind. Tuesday to honor Spc. Arronn Fields, a soldier with the Indiana National Guard who was killed while serving in Afghanistan two weeks before.
Joe Astrouski of WTHI reports that Fields' funeral was held at the Brazil Church of the Nazarene Tuesday morning. The service included song, prayer and speeches by Governor Mitch Daniels and Adjutant General Martin Umbarger of the Indiana National Guard.
"Governors learn to pray that moments like this and days like this will never come," Daniels said. "Although it is the least welcome and most difficult of the tasks that come with my current assignment, it is the most important."
Daniels reflected on Fields' hobbies of fishing and working on old cars as well as the thought of one of Fields' friends that the fallen soldier might have become a history teacher.
"He is part of history now," Daniels said. "(He) always will be a very profound figure in the life of this community, our state and our nation."
Following the funeral in church, Fields was carried in procession through Brazil to Clear View Cemetery along a route lined with supporters and American flags. That procession included dozens of Patriot Guard motorcyclists carrying flags.
Many of those riders later formed a "sea of flags" around the site of the grave-side service. Among them was Dennis Krackenberger, a Vietnam Veteran who remembered the lack of welcome he and his comrades often received when they returned home.
"Now, we actually honor our heroes as heroes, because they fought for this country," Krackenberger said. "Unfortunately, this man paid the ultimate price."
As dozens of family members, supporters and military personnel watched, Spc. Fields was carried from a funeral coach to the site of his grave, his casket draped in an American flag.
After the playing of taps and a rifle salute, folded American and Indiana flags were given to Fields' family members by Adjutant General Umbarger and Governor Daniels.
Speaking after the service, Umberger said these graveside services are a fitting tribute to fallen military personnel.
"Any soldier that gives their life ... soldier, airman or marine, they deserve a service like this," Umberger said.
Krackenberger said these services are a fitting show of support for those killed in action and for their families.
"Come and stand in one," Krackenberger said. "You'll be touched by the people who show up, by the backing of the public, your friends ... It helps you move on."
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